More Bora Bora

Wednesday August 15th, 2007

We are still in Bora Bora. We had planned on leaving tomorrow,
having checked out of French Polynesia and gotten our bond back
on Monday. When we went to the gendarmerie to check out we told
the big buff gendarme that we would be leaving the next morning.
They are so strict about checking out here that the gendarme
actually said that if we are leaving tomorrow we should come
back to do the checkout tomorrow, not today. We told him that we
would be leaving at the crack of dawn so that would be
impossible, and he relented, but not before asking three times
if we were “definitely” leaving tomorrow and then he insisted on
writing “departure definite” on our papers. Of course we were
not really planning on leaving the next day as there were too
many things to take care of before we left and we had to wait
for the right weather. Some poor guy tried to check out just
after us and made the mistake of saying that he planned to leave
on Wednesday. The gendarme refused to check him out and the man
got fed up and said, “Ok, so check me out and I will leave
today”. That same man is currently anchored next to us (3 days
later), and after talking to him today it is clear that he is
only going to leave when the weather is ok – just like we are
doing. We are actually having beautiful weather but the
forecast is for a disturbance to come up from the south in the
next few days causing unsettled weather, strange wind direction
(north and northeast) and then a couple of days of no wind.
Since we have a 4 day sail ahead of us to get to Suvarov (in the
Cook’s), we don’t want to take a chance with such strange
weather, so we are “roughing it” by hanging around this pretty
anchorage in Bora Bora for a few more days.

We spent most of Saturday (August 11th) doing boat maintenance
(changing generator oil) and doing boat cleaning, but then had a
beautiful snorkel by the reef here. We found a gorgeous coral
garden just inside of the fringing reef with some spectacular
coral, clams of all sizes and colors and lots of fish, including
varieties we had never seen before. Saw some very bizarre and
very big fish that were stuck inside a large fish trap. In the
evening we went over to Rishu Maru to visit and ended up staying
for dinner and dancing on the deck together. We will miss Alex’s
mom Ericka (Ricky), and her sister Sol a lot. We just had so
much fun together these past two weeks.

On Sunday morning (August 12) Mark and I moved the boat back to
the Bora Bora yacht club so we could be closer to town and get
internet access. We spent a lot of time trying to upload a
movie of me swimming with the stingrays to our web site and
taking care of bills and other business. I even got our taxes
(2006) submitted! In the evening we invited Vanessa and Morgan
from the Canadian boat “Mostly Harmless” and Oden and Wee from
the Norwegian boat “Valkurie” over for sundowners.

Monday we were still moored at the yacht club, but went to town
to check out, get our bond, get some groceries, etc. We also
checked out the marine gas dock so that we would be prepared to
use it to fill up our tanks the next day. It is always helpful
to get the lay of the land before approaching a new gas dock and
this one was no exception. It is a very small dock, but looked
easy to approach. The woman who runs the place is exceedingly
unfriendly, but I guess as long as they sell us fuel we will be
ok. In the evening Mark and I dinghied over to the dock at the
yacht club just to have a drink and watch the sunset. A man
with two very cute sons came and sat beside us and he turned out
to be another yachtie from the British boat Clarabelle. They
invited us to play a card game with them and it was a lot of
fun. The two young boys, Tom and John (they call him John-tee)
were so adorable and had the most wonderful British accents. We
really had a nice time with them.

On Tuesday morning we wanted to go to the fuel dock and then
move back to the anchorage by Motu Toopua. We had promised Rishu
Maru that they could have our mooring at the yacht club as they
are hard to come by and they had spent the last two nights
anchored by the motu. We called to let them know we were ready
to vacate the mooring and they motored over to us. Another boat
that we know, Scholarship, was approaching the yacht club right
beside Rishu Maru and saw us leaving. For a few minutes it
looked like it was going to be a race between the two boats to
see who could get to the mooring ball first, but we called out
to Scholarship to let them know we were saving it for our
friends on Rishu Maru. Kind of like getting a parking spot in
Manhattan I guess. Hopefully there will be no bad feelings on
account of that episode.

We motored over to the fuel dock and were glad to see that there
were no other boats there. Just as we were pulling up to the
tiny dock, a small fishing boat raced in front of us and pulled
up at the dock, completely blocking our access to it and giving
us no time to stop our boat. We yelled frantically at him that
we were coming in and that he had to move or we might
accidentally hit him, and he moved out of the way just in time.
Funny because this is a very low key kind of place but we had
two “parking space” episodes in the same morning. We filled all
8 of our 20 liter jerry cans with diesel, topped off our tank,
filled up our gas tanks (for the dinghy) and went back to Motu
Toopua to find a nice spot to drop anchor. There were a couple
dozen boats there, but we managed to find a great spot.

It is Alex and Peter and Alex’s sister Sol’s birthdays this week
and we were invited to their boat for a birthday party last
night. Two other groups of friends on boats that we have not
seen for a long time pulled in today and they were also there
for the party — Yara and Nautilus. We had another fun evening
with lots of food, wine, and then everyone danced on the deck
again. Besides all of their other talents, Alex and Peter are
terrific dancers and it was fun to watch them dance together.

It was a little scary getting back to our boat in the dark. Our
anchorage was about 1 1/2 miles from the yacht club where Rishu
Maru was and it is amazing how long that distance can seem in
the dark. Luckily there were lots of navigational lights in the
channel and all went well. We will definitely avoid any more
long dinghy rides at night though as I was quite uncomfortable
the whole way. It is a distance that we would have covered in
about 12 minutes in the daylight going “warp speed”with the
dinghy planing, but at night you have to go much slower so it
took more than 1/2 an hour.

We had planned on spending today getting ready to leave for
Suvarrov, but after talking to Peter in the morning and checking
the weather forecast ourselves, we decided it would be better to
hang out here for a few more days until the weather disturbance